Posted on: 2013-12-13

Mary the Woman of Honour
The Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, honours the Blessed Virgin Mary, as mother of Jesus Christ and being the mother of our King, honours her as our mother (Jn. 19: 26-27) and Queen as well. Mary is the one in whom the King of the Ages and Lord of Lords took human flesh. In agreement with the Bible she was proclaimed and is venerated as the Immaculate Conception, uncorrupted by original sin, for God had already prepared a home in her for his dear Son. According to the testimony of St Paul: \"those whom God predestined he called, and those whom he called he made righteous and to those whom he made righteous he will give his glory\" (Rom 8:30). The Church does not shy away from acts of coronation, laying of flowers and garlands for the statue of Mary (1Kgs. 6:23-32) because such are accepted and approved ways of honoring queens everywhere.

The Tumult among Nations
It is a fact that many Christians continue to find scandal in the Catholic way of honouring Mary. Chris Okotie\'s maniacal declaration, some days ago that all Catholics will go to hell because of such practices has been widely criticized even by non-Christians. It deserves scant further attention. Curiously, no one has yet criticized the deluge of wreaths and garlands which have already been laid at the statues of the late conqueror of apartheid, Nelson Mandela since he died. They feel he deserved it all. I am convinced however that important and remarkable as Mandela was, he comes nowhere close to Mary, the mother of Jesus in grace, dignity and holiness. All that Catholics can really do is to insist we do not worship Mary and to witness to what we believe at every opportunity (1Pet. 3:15) hoping that others too will bravely live out what all Christians profess. The condemnation from some other Churches in this regard is best understood in the context of this age where daughters sometimes try to teach their mothers how to bear children.

Mary the Ideal Mother
At the Oyo Diocesan Marian Center of December 2013 at Tede in Atisbo local Government area of Oyo State, reflections focused on the person of Mary as Mother and Evangelizer. Mary is an ideal mother for all Christians. Jesus Christ made her so. She gave to Jesus everything good you can think of that a mother ever gives. Think of your own mother. If she ever suffered for you, Mary did same for her son. She knew that children are a gift from God or she would have refused the \"embarrassing\" offer of mothering a child she really did not ask for (Lk. 1:34-37). She as a pro-life mother stands against the contemporary culture of death which promotes and adopts gay living, abortion and artificial contraception, negating the will and the plan of God as manifested even in nature. Often, when I contemplate Mary\'s fundamental choice of motherhood, I wonder how come that all those who advocate abortion have all already been born!

Mary, a Mother for All Seasons
Modern society has a lot to learn from Mary. Some mother would have got rid of the baby whom the prophet Simeon declared, \"is a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul , so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed\" (Lk 2: 34-35). That, for them, would have been too high a price to pay. It did not end there. This super mother stuck with her son through thick and thin and to God\'s plan too even when it was hard to understand. Mary and Joseph were worried searching for Jesus after the Passover feast in Jerusalem. He surprised them further by saying, \"Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father\'s house? But they did not understand this answer\" (Lk. 2:49-50). She was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus died to carry out, to the very last, the assignment of God for her. How much our world needs such integrity and staying power in parenting and especially mothering today! Therein lies the solution to the restoration of sanity in our society and world.

Mary, the True Evangelizer
If there ever was a true evangelizer, Mary was definitely one. An evangelizer is a carrier of the good news, of the gospel, a “Christopher\" of God\'s plan for his creation. Well, Mary physically carried Jesus, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation and the son of God for nine months in her womb (Col. 1:12ff). No human being, living or dead can ever match, talk less of surpass that blessing and class for she was full of grace and filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1: 28-35)

Mary, the Apostle of Goodness
Mary having known that hers was a precious son of God, by contemporary human wisdom should not have allowed him to mingle with \"commoners\" on the journey from Jerusalem. It would not be hapless to expose such a gem to a wicked world. Mary would not have rushed to her cousin Elizabeth even when the news of her choice came to her, for fear that Elizabeth might be a witch who could truncate her good luck. Given the fear and paranoia often pandered today in films, in the radio and on television which in turn feed popular opinion, many live in fear even of their own shadows. But such a attitude would have undermined her deep faith in God and His power to see his work through, so Mary was different. True evangelizers remind the world that \"the earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it\", not the devil\'s (Psalm 24:1). Mary\'s concern for the wedding couple of Cana established her as a good companion to all in need. She dealt with the couple\'s embarrassment even before they cried out (Jn. 2). Mary\'s life actually does honour to all humanity. She is the good news that humanity will not forever be alienated from God. She is God\'s promised antidote to the curse of Eve.